Sonia attacks opposition for stalling parliament, calls BJP divisive (Roundup)

New Delhi, March 30: Congress president Sonia Gandhi Sunday slammed the opposition, saying that the stalling of parliament prevented many important welfare measures of the UPA government from getting passed.

Addressing a well-attended rally at the Ajmal Khan Park here, the Congress chief also took pot shots at the Aam Aadmi Party’s 49-day government in the city and the “divisive” ideology of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

She enumerated the welfare schemes brought out by the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government, especially laws to abolish manual scavenging and giving rights to street vendors.

“In the last 10 years, the UPA government under Manmohan Singh did revolutionary work. They launched several major works and programmes I don’t want to repeat, you all know about it,” Gandhi said, addressing a rally at the venue from where her mother-in-law, later prime minister Indira Gandhi had spoken in 1979.

Sonia Gandhi said the UPA government had brought legislation to abolish manual scavenging and to give rights to street vendors so that they can carry on their work without being troubled by police.

She mentioned the bill for pensions and the 6th Pay Commission as well as the “one rank one pension” for armed forces.

“If parliament had not got stalled, then we would have got many more important laws passed,” she said.

Taking a dig at the AAP, whose short-lived government the Congress had supported, she said “some people think running a government is child’s play, and you people saw in Delhi how some people ran away without running the government”.

She said if the Congress came back to power, it would introduce measures for the poor, including free healthcare and medicines as well as pension.

For students, she said the Congress would ensure education and jobs.

Reaching out to voters, she said the Congress has “sacrificed” itself for the country – an allusion to the assassination of late prime minister Indira Gandhi and her late husband, former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

“The Congress has sacrificed itself for the country,” she said.

“Congress ke rag rag mein desh-bhakti hai (Patriotism flows in the veins of Congress),” she said.

Attacking the BJP, she said some people “mislead under the guise of patriotism just in order to grab the chair (power). For them, desh-bhakti means to grab power in order to fulfill their personal aspirations”.

She attacked the “divisive” policies of the BJP, saying the Lok Sabha election “is a fight for ideals… between those that will divide and the Congress that wants to keep the people united, between one that wants to cut up society and the Congress that wants to keep it united, one section that wants to divide brother and brother, and the Congress that views even opponents with brotherliness”.

She welcomed Bahujan Samaj Party leader Prajapati into the party in the presence of leaders Shakeel Ahmad, Ajay Maken, Mukesh Sharma and Sandeep Dikshit.

Prajapati said he was involved with the Congress’s Seva Dal over 30 years back, when Indira Gandhi was at the helm of affairs. “It is like a homecoming to me,” he said.

The rally was the first by a top Congress leader after Indira Gandhi held a rally in 1979 at the same venue, party leaders said.

“Indira Gandhi was able to create a wave for herself from this park rally in Delhi in 1979 and won the Lok Sabha election in 1980. Soniaji will do the same this time,” Mukesh Sharma said.

IANS